Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 08 Feb 2005


Is the worship of Lord Shiva inauspicious?

[I was told that worshipping Lord Shiva is inauspicious because He is related to destruction. Is it true?]

The very meaning of the word Shiva is that He is ever auspicious. It is stated that Lord Shiva is the first Guru who gives divine knowledge (Jnanam Maheshwaraat). The divine knowledge is said to be most auspicious in the Gita (Nahi Jnanena Sadrisham). Shiva indicates the destruction of the world or the death of a person. One should always remember that this world will be destroyed and is not eternal. By this you must know that death is inevitable for the body and for the relationships of this body. The old person must be aware of death that is going to come shortly and must become spiritually alert. Even the young man must think about the possibility of an untimely accidental death and that there is no guarantee of living till old age. Thus if one remembers death constantly, he will be spiritually active. The human being does not turn to spirituality because he thinks that he will live forever. He should constantly remind himself about death and thus should become spiritually active. Generally people think that death is inauspicious. But it is the most auspicious Guru that gives knowledge about the temporary existence of the body and makes the human being alert in the spiritual effort. In the Mahabharata it is told that one should constantly remember death as if it walks by our side catching hold of our hair.

Lord Shiva also appears inauspicious externally. But internally He is the embodiment of the divine knowledge and is most auspicious. Lord Shiva represents the quality of Tamas [ignorance, inertia]. Any quality turned towards God is always good. Tamas gives rigid firmness in the spiritual path. Prahlada was firm due to the quality of Tamas alone. Kannappa, a hunter who was the embodiment of Tamas attained salvation by donating his eyes to Lord Shiva. Even Sattvam [goodness], when turned towards the world is bad. Dhritarashtra was very polite and was a devotee of Lord Krishna. He possessed the Sattvam quality. But he never followed the word of Lord Krishna. All his Sattvam quality was diverted towards the world and he was very greedy. The Lord punished him. In Nivritti one has to cross even worldly justice by using Tamas. Even the Lord crosses the rules of justice to protect His real devotee due to the very Tamas quality. Lord Shiva protected Markandeya in this way. Datta appeared as a drunkard and fond of prostitute due to Tamas alone. Datta preached that in Nivritti the devotee shall not leave the Lord even if the Lord harms him. This is like the drunkard, not leaving the harmful wine and the harmful prostitute. At that stage, to have such a firm desire for the Lord, Tamas is required. Dharmaraja was the embodiment of the Sattvam quality. But he did not have firm faith on Lord Krishna. Therefore, even when Lord Krishna forced him to tell a lie he refused. This is due to lack of firmness in the faith and firmness is always due to Tamas. Thus the importance of Shiva is very much in spirituality.

Moreover the same Brahman is called as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva based on the association with Sattvam, Rajas and Tamas respectively. The same Lord comes in three shirts of different colours. The Lord does not having any colour Himself. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are only the three energetic bodies of the same Lord, which are like three separate coloured shirts. If you scold Shiva, you have scolded Brahma and Vishnu. The Veda says the same (Brahmacha Narayanah, Shivascha Narayanah). The greatest sin is to differentiate between Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and to differentiate between their corresponding incarnations i.e., Madhva, Ramanuja and Shankara.